Facets of Buddhism is a short collection of essays written over the years by one of the pre-eminent Japanese scholars in the field of Buddhism and comparative religion. The ten essays are loosely linked together by the common themes of (a) dependent co-origination (pratitya-samutpada), (b) the effect of Madhyamika and Yogacara ideas on Japanese literature and culture, and (c) the tension and harmonies amongst different religious traditions and different Buddhist sects. Scholars will be particularly interested in this collection of essays for the access they provide to a wide range of Japanese scholarly exchange and opinion, much of which has until now been available only in Japanese. The will also be interested in the presentation of the different Chinese, Tibetan and Japanese interpretations of important passages from classical Indian Buddhist texts, and in the comparison of meditation techniques described by Indian, Chinese and Tibetan writers. Drawing on his experiences during a long and distinguished career as a teacher and scholar, professor Iida provides in these essays new and valuable insights into the place of women and the feminine principle in Buddhism, the convergence of folk beliefs and philosophical Buddhism in Japan, the rise of the modern Japanese Buddhist sects and, through a comparison of Buddhist, Christian and Sufi-Yogic practices and modern psychology, the difference, similarities and interdependence of the different faiths of mankind.
SHOTARO IIDA, Ph.D. (Wisconsin) and Professor, Department of Religious Studies, University of British Columbia, Canada, received the Japan Foundation Special Prize for the establishment of the Asian Centre at the University of British Columbia as planner and fund-raiser in 1986. His translations into English from Japanese, Chinese, Tibetan and Sanskrit, often in collaboration with other eminent scholars, include some of the most important Madhyamika and Cittamatrin works.